Therapists love feelings, and recently, I was in the precarious position of realizing that a feeling I was experiencing had no English equivalent.
I took myself on a date, and I felt gemütlichkeit.
Yes, I literally asked myself out.
I said to myself, “Genevieve, I think you’re really intriguing, and I want to get to know you.”
And I responded, “Oh, okay. Well, I would love to grab a drink by the park.”
I replied, “I see. Like, Parc the restaurant, or at a park? I’ll treat,” to which I responded, “That’s generous of you. If we go to Parc and sit outside, we can overlook Rittenhouse Square.”
I took myself on a date to get to know the new Genevieve—a woman who is still discovering her mindful, authentic voice after embarking on a journey to heal from years of trauma.
So one crisp, partly-cloudy afternoon, I took myself to a local Parisian-style restaurant for an espresso. Sitting with my sunglasses on, enjoying a gentle breeze while overlooking Rittenhouse Square, I said to myself as I people watched, “how gemütlich.”
Gemütlich is the adjective of gemütlichkeit, a German word that closely translates in English to feeling cozy, bonhomie, and peaceful, describing the moment of perfect harmony between place and mood. Gemütlichkeit is feeling warmth. Metaphorically, it’s feeling warm inside our hearts.
Gemütlichkeit is hearing children laugh while on the train to work.
Gemütlichkeit is having a client tell me I made a difference.
Gemütlichkeit is coming home every day after work, collapsing into my husband’s arms for an exaggerated hug, a long kiss, and two pets to greet me at the door.
Gemütlichkeit is sitting on the couch with a hot cup of tea, in my oversized college sweats, holding my husband’s hand while watching TV.
Gemütlichkeit is the feeling I have at the Philadelphia Orchestra every month in the rests between the conclusion of masterpieces and before the audience erupts in cheers and clapping.
Gemütlichkeit is taking a hot shower on a cold, rainy night after a long day.
Gemütlichkeit is reading a salacious book in one hand with a slice of pizza in the other.
Gemütlichkeit is mindfully walking home through Center City.
Gemütlichkeit is traveling on an international train to meet my family in Slovakia, and when they gave me an extra suitcase so that I could bring souvenirs home.
Gemütlichkeit is laying in savasana.
Gemütlichkeit is hearing my therapist reflect my growth into a “spiritual warrior.”
Gemütlichkeit is sipping a dirty almond-milk chai latte with my mentor to discuss my professional and personal growth into a mindful woman.
Gemütlichkeit is experiencing the second before the tide hits my toes as they sink into the sand.
Gemütlichkeit is sitting on a bench in the park with my bestie.
Gemütlichkeit is partaking in a family weenie roast in the Jersey countryside.
Gemütlichkeit is falling asleep on the couch to my favorite vinyl.
Gemütlichkeit is walking the jet bridge.
Gemütlichkeit is taking long road trips.
Gemütlichkeit is calling a long-distance friend.
Gemütlichkeit is meditating in therapy.
Gemütlichkeit is waking up in the middle of the night to a dog sleeping on my shoulder, a cat resting on my stomach, and a spouse competing for a snuggle.
Gemütlichkeit is writing this article.
Gemütlichkeit is taking myself on a date.
Gemütlichkeit is growing into the woman I always dreamed of being.
Gemütlichkeit is my favorite feeling word—a feeling I’ve tried to not only cultivate but seek out in an age of alternative facts, distrust, and administrative abuses. Gemütlichkeit is simple. Gemütlichkeit is everywhere, and we don’t have to look far or hard.
If we can find gemütlichkeit within ourselves, we will never be disheartened.
Author: Genevieve Gellert-Ilg
Image: Author’s Own; Jared Eberhardt/Flickr
Ediror: Catherine Monkman